At the time of this order, my BRYANT family lived in Nueces and Refugio Counties, Texas, and my SANFORD families were both slaves and slaveholders in Milam County, Texas.


Carnival of Genealogy: Gulf Coast Summer 1962

Right: Craig and The World’s Smartest Sister at the beach in Rockport, Texas, August 1962. As far as I recall, my first time at a beach was in the summer of 1962. Later that year, at age 8, I did my first major writing project. It’s presented here just as it was written 46 years ago, including photographs (the notes …Continue reading →


Texas Death Collection at FamilySearch Labs

Record Search at FamilySearch Labs has recently added a collection of Texas death records covering 1890-1976. I’ve tried this and it’s quite a good collection in terms of content and useability. Like all the indexed collections at Record Search, name variations are automatically retrieved in search results. I like the fact that there is a “Copy to Clipboard” link on …Continue reading →


Open State Vital Records: Some of the Best States

One of Several Posts about Open Government Laws and Genealogy I’ve made a brief survey of state vital records laws and here present some of the “best” states in terms of “openness.” These determinations are based on several factors: whether law provides that vital records are “open” or “public”; whether reasonable “confidential periods” are imposed; whether reasonable fees are required; …Continue reading →


Black History Month: Black Catholics in America

I have obliquely alluded, in this space, to the fact that I am of the Roman Catholic faith. This may come as a surprise to a lot of folks, some of whom believe a black Catholic is rarer than a campfire at the North Pole. Frequently, when people learn that I’m a Catholic, they say, “When did you convert?” Well, …Continue reading →


History Comes to Dinner

Actually I’m going to dinner at the home of my great-great grandmother, Matilda Manson, in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas, on a day in 1900. Grandma Mattie has been kind enough, at my suggestion, to invite her son Otis, and his wife Bettie Sanford, as well as Bettie’s 90 year old father, Billie Sanford. Bettie is pregnant with their fourth child, …Continue reading →


Where Was Your Family in 1908?

Lisa, who has the energy to write several interesting blogs, posed the question, “Where was your family in 1908?” on, appropriately enough, her 100 Years in America blog. A century ago, neither of my paternal grandparents had been born yet, although one, my grandmother Jessie Beatrice Bowie, was just a year away. Her parents, my great-grandparents, Hattie Bryant and Elias …Continue reading →


Important Genealogical Tip: Try, Try Again!

An important tip in genealogical research is to re-plow ground you’ve already been over before. And if that’s not productive, do it again! Why? Because it works. Miriam at Ancestories had a Christmas Day surprise when she finally found some elusive in-laws for whom she had searched for years. In an idle moment, she tried again on-line and there they …Continue reading →


Ancestral Gleanings from the Dinner Table

Thanksgiving is a great time to learn a little or a lot about one’s relatives and ancestors. Unexpected things may pop up. I gleaned a fair bit from our Thanksgiving conversations, most of which I’ll share after some further processing. But one of the surprising bits was this: I asked my father if he recalled ever talking to a census …Continue reading →


My Families’ Weddings

She’s there every morning, watching me, this pretty teenager. Her eyes dipped slightly, confident yet demure; slender and shy. She grips a rosary in her hands. A long veil falls down her back to the floor where it merges with the pool that is the train of her dress. She watches me, this teenager from across the room, from across …Continue reading →

August 2015
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